Sunday, January 29, 2012

The end of January's Pantry Challenge...and our menu

Well, overall, the pantry challenge was less successful than I wanted it to be, but not too terrible.

  • We went out to eat once a week, which I was not pleased about, but took one for the team.
  • We did reasonably well with shopping, as I really did try to limit trips to necessities only.
  • We did make a large purchase of ground beef through Zaycon Foods, and have been pleased with the quality and the price.  Forty pounds of ground beef is a lot.  More than it sounds.  A LOT.

We will probably continue the pantry challenge in some way this month - gotta think about it and devise a plan!

So this week?  Here's what's cookin':

Sunday~ Chili in the crockpot, served with noodles and shredded cheese
Monday~ Taco salad (have not been successful with a taco night at home yet... but I'm determine to try!)
Tuesday~ Spaghetti in the crockpot (both Mom & Dad have meetings after school, so we need something waiting for us)
Wednesday~ Roast in the crockpot, green beans  (the crockpot is getting some L-O-V-E this week!!!)
Thursday~ Breakfast for dinner
Friday~ Frozen pizza, tossed salad
Saturday~ Burgers on the grill

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Menu, Pantry Challenge, and the end of January

Well, this week was amazing.
Amazingly crazy.
On Wednesday, I took LOTS of middle school girls to an opera.
On Friday, I tool LOTS of middle school boys to a "Men Sing" day at our local university.
Talk about your contrasts.

Anyway, the menu got a little wacky this week, but we managed.
Here's the plan for this week:

Sunday~ moving Marinated Flank Steak to today when I've got time to cook it.  Will serve with a tossed salad.
Monday~ Ham slices (frozen from Christmas), blackeyed peas (from the garden this summer), rice, collards (also from the garden)
Tuesday~ Breakfast for dinner: cheese grits, biscuits, eggs, bacon/sausage
Wednesday~ Leftovers (there are plenty - roast with gravy, grilled chicken, etc.)
Thursday~ Frozen pizza, tossed salad
Friday~ French onion soup
Saturday~ Out to eat for my sister's b-day

Breakfast consists of eggs for hubs and waffles for ds#3 (I use whole wheat flour).
I'm not a big breakfast fan, and have to wait to eat breakfast because of meds, so it's usually something like cheese toast.

Lunches are leftovers for hubs & me, and pb&j or 'pizza burritos' for ds#3 (pepperoni & cheese rolled in a tortilla).

Check out Menu Plan Monday for some inspiration, or visit the Pantry Challenge to boost your creativity!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Week 3 of the January Pantry Challenge

I feel like a failure at the Pantry Challenge so far.
We went out to eat on Friday...
Not because I wanted to, but it is a way for the family to release some stress...

So hopefully this week will go a little better.  It's going to be REALLY busy, but we have a plan, so that should help.


I hope.

Chocolate helps, too.

Sunday~ Pasta Fagioli
Monday~ Steak, sausage, and chicken on the grill
Tuesday~ Meatballs, gravy with mushrooms, egg noodles, green beans
Wednesday~ Mom is taking the girls in choir to see Madama Butterfly, so the guys will fend for themselves
Thursday~ Tacos (we've gone out to eat for Mexican once a week since we began this challenge... so this week, we're trying for a meal at home...)
Friday~ BBQ pork, collards, baked onion rings
Saturday~ Flank steak on the grill, tossed salad (Mom has a rehearsal so Dad will be in charge of dinner!)

Here's to a more successful week...

Share your menu at Menu Plan Monday and get inspired by the Pantry Challenge!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pantry Challenge update - midweek

I'm participating the Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats this month.  It's a good way to use up groceries, discover freezer adventures, and trim the budget!

This week has been going fairly well - I had to revise the original plan because I wasn't going out of town as I thought when I made our menu.  We've followed the plan thus far, except I switched our beef roast to Wednesday, and we'll do tacos on Thursday.

I did order some ground beef from Zaycon Foods this month.  I have ordered their chicken before and been pleased, so I'm hoping it will go as well with the beef.

Can't wait for the long weekend ahead!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pantry Challenge: The plan as it was...and the changes

Here was the original plan:
8~ Turkey (from the freezer) & gravy, stuffing, broccoli with cheese OR green beans
9~ Taco Night! (I'm going out of town later this week, so gotta get it in early)
10~ Hubby & ds#3 are attending a dinner together, so Mom's on her own
11~ Leftovers
12 - 14 ~ I could make dinners, but I'm going out of town to a conference, and I know my guys will eat I'm not going to obsess about it.

I am no longer going to be out of town, so here's the amended plan:
Sunday~ Turkey (from the freezer) with gravy, stuffing, green beans (this has not changed)
Monday~ Breakfast for Dinner (change #1)
Tuesday~ ds#3 has artwork on display at an art gallery downtown - thinking I might take him to the reception, then meet dh at a local seafood restaurant as planned
Wednesday~ Since I'll be home... Taco Night! (change #2)
Thursday~ Roast in the crockpot, whole wheat egg noodles, tossed salad (change #3...moved from last week)
Friday~ Either macho nachos with taco leftovers OR pasta fagioli (bump up from next week)
Saturday~ Leftovers

Share your progress on the Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats.
Revel in menu marvels with Menu Plan Monday at Organized Junkie.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pantry Challenge update

I've been participating in the Pantry Challenge at Good Cheap Eats. This week has been a decent week, with a couple of changes (what else is new??) but overall, successful.

Wednesday, we went out to eat, because I walked in the door later than usual, hubs was starving when I got there, and he wanted to go to our fave Mexican spot.  So we did.

Thursday, I made chili mac as scheduled and it was YUM!

Friday, roast was on the menu.... but I discovered a container of beef chunks with mushrooms and some kind of gravy, so I decided to be brave and toss that in the crockpot with a little more gravy.  I came home to discover a yummy concoction, hot and ready to eat.  Just heated some egg noodles, and dinner was on.  (Small triumph!)

Saturday, we'll see a reappearance of Thursday's chili.  This was not on the planned menu, but hubs wants to watch football, so my take on Rachael Ray's Chili Cheese Fries is what's for dinner!  I'll roast the potato wedges in the oven, pour on my chili, and top with cheese.  Happy people! :)  Oh.... and for lunch on Saturday, I passed off some dried out chicken as BBQ chicken sandwiches (SMOTHERED - and I do mean SMOTHERED - in BBQ sauce.)  My boy was delighted - he ate two.

I *did* go to the store this week - mostly for non-food items (Rx, toilet paper, etc.), but I did pick up some tea bags and cheese.  So far, so good!

I won't be going out of town next week as planned, so I'll shift a few things around to accommodate dinner.

Every day's an adventure - join in the Pantry Challenge and share yours!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Failure and Success... Pantry Challenge

Well, yesterday was a total FAIL for the Pantry Challenge.  I got away from school late, and consequently was a little behind picking up ds#3, and when I got home, hubby was ready to eat.  As in NOW.  I had planned to make tacos, and actually could have thrown them together quickly, but hubs said, "I hate to see you walk in the door and go straight to cooking.  Let's go out."

There was no point in arguing...

So we went out.

But tonight...
The crockpot comes to the rescue!!!

I actually put everything in there last night, so all I had to do was put in the 'pot', plug it in, and let it go before work.  We came home, and the chili was ready.  All I had to do was boil noodles.

Yum!  (And success.)
I made my chili with roasted tomatoes from this summer's garden - I pureed them after they were thawed.  Then I tossed in a can of Rotel (that I bought on sale, of course).  Added my already-cooked-and-frozen ground beef, and red and black beans that I soaked and cooked ahead of time.  Tossed in a few spices, and it was yummy.

And for dessert?  Who doesn't love cookies??? ;)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pantry we go

Jessica at Life As Mom and Good Cheap Eats is hosting a Pantry Challenge for the month of January.  This is something I've done for the past couple of years, as it helps us to trim our eating AND our spending after the holidays.

My goals for this month are:
to minimize trips to the grocery store by using what we have
buy milk, bread, and fresh veg only when ABSOLUTELY necessary
clean out my deep freeze by eating what's in there already

So today...
Dinner was stuffed peppers and spaghetti.  I used peppers from our garden, and stuffed them for hubby.  Then I made a sauce from tomatoes I'd roasted and frozen during the summer when they were coming out of our ears so abundant.  I boiled pasta for ds and me, and that was dinner - simple, satisfying, comforting on the first day back to school for the new year.

Tomorrow's plan has already been amended -
hubby has an after-school meeting and is taking some folks to dinner, so ds & I will have something simple - probably some kind of leftovers - here at the house.

And we'll see how it goes!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

January Pantry Challenge - menu for the month!

Happy New Year!

Here's to a year full of blessings!

Every year in January, I map out a menu for the month.  It's my goal to minimize trips to the grocery store, to use what we have, or to creatively do without.  I'll buy milk, maybe some bread, and perhaps a little fresh produce, but for the most part, we'll eat what we've already purchased.

For the past couple of years, I've joined Jessica at Life As Mom and Good Cheap Eats in this challenge.  It holds me accountable, and gives me a few ideas as I try to use all my creative tricks in staying away from the stores!

So, without further ado, here's January's plan:

Sunday~ Happy New Year!  Ham, blackeyed peas (from our garden), collards (also from the garden), a little rice, and a little beef tenderloin and swiss beans left from our New Year's Eve dinner
Monday~ Spaghetti and stuffed peppers (this is comfort food for us, and our first day back to school is going to require some comforting food!)
Tuesday~ Taco Night! Taco salad, quesadillas (my guys have informed me this should be a weekly tradition)
Wednesday~ Breakfast for dinner: eggs, bacon, grits, biscuits
Thursday~ Chili Mac (use any leftover meat from Taco Night)
Friday~ Roast in the crockpot, mushrooms, egg noodles, green beans
Saturday~ East meets West Chicken, homemade mac'n'cheese, coleslaw

8~ Turkey (from the freezer) & gravy, stuffing, broccoli with cheese OR green beans
9~ Taco Night! (I'm going out of town later this week, so gotta get it in early)
10~ Hubby & ds#3 are attending a dinner together, so Mom's on her own
11~ Leftovers
12 - 14 ~ I could make dinners, but I'm going out of town to a conference, and I know my guys will eat I'm not going to obsess about it.

15~ Pasta Fagioli (already prepped and in the freezer - just add pasta when soup is cooked)
16~ MLK Holiday: Grilled chicken, steak, and burgers
17~ Meatballs w/brown gravy, egg noodles, green beans or salad
18~ Leftovers/Fend For Yourself (Taking girls from school to see a local production of Madame Butterfly)
19~ Taco Night!
20~ BBQ chicken, baked potatoes, collard greens
21~ Marinated flank steak, tossed salad

22~ Ham slices (frozen after Christmas), blackeyed peas, mac'n'cheese or these 5-minute individual potato gratins
23~ Breakfast for dinner
24~ Roast & gravy, French onion soup (which we still haven't had) green beans
25~ Taco Night
26~ Frozen Pizza, salad
27~ Spaghetti and stuffed peppers
28~ Leftovers or something on the grill

29~ Chili
30~ My sister's birthday -probably dinner out with the fam
31~ WHEW - we made it - OUT TO EAT!

As always, I share my menu plans at Laura's Menu Plan Monday
and this month I'll be linking up to the Pantry Challenge too.  
Come on in!